This message may be a little late for some, but quite frankly, my focus is on fellow procrastinators. For those of you who have yet received the flu shot, this message is for you. My dear (((Mom))) would poke holes in my chubby little body. This happened regularly for my good as well as for the benefit of those around me.
The influenza virus was discovered in the 1930s, but the vaccine was first used in 1945 on soldiers in WWII. I remember getting needles for just about everything, so I am sure the flu vaccine was administered at the earliest age possible. I vaguely recall getting a yearly shot when I was only a wee one. And for those of you wondering, dirt was not one day old when I received my first shot.
When I was a youth, the MMR vaccine was not yet invented. I do remember that the neighbours organized measles and mumps parties, and everyone was welcome. For those too young to remember the concept, I will try to explain it. No invites were sent out, so the nefarious activities were arranged by phone not to alarm the little ones. Everyone was gathered at one home, usually at the residence of the guest of honour. In case you are in suspense, the guest of honour was the one infected with either measles or mumps. There is some talk of “herd immunity” as a scheme to end this ugly pandemic. The idea is that if you infect enough folks with the virus, it will die out on its own. That would require large numbers, and according to health professionals, such an undertaking is doomed to fail.
On the other hand, all moms would gather together and form a mini-herd to corral the infection so it would not gain footing in our little cohort. The teacher had ten absentees to contend with at once, which I sup[pose was better than two a week for five weeks. It was either that or some conspiracy to “thin the herd,” in a wholesale, and might I add cruel manner. But everything turned out ok, and all I have to remind myself of those days are a few blemishes from scratching too much. (LOL)
Anyway, I digress once more, so I will get back on topic. Flu shots protect us from the flu and protect others from what can be a deadly disease. The phrase “do it for the Gipper” comes to mind, although I do not remember what movie it comes from off-hand. I understand the decision to get the flu shot is a personal one, and I will not willingly rob anyone of their independent beliefs. Keep these myths and facts in mind as you weigh your options.
First, you must appreciate that the flu is not a minor ailment. Each year something north of six hundred thousand souls lose their lives to this disease. And the flu is non-discriminate when it comes to geographic or ethnic borders. It does not care what your financial situation may be, and it will not check your passport before it takes your life. Please refer to the paragraph above. And the notion of who you may be protecting with one little flu shot. Better yet, refer to the same section above and justify the number of people you are NOT
The flu vaccine will not give you the flu. In isolated cases, you may feel a little sore or have a slight temperature. That normal and is no cause for alarm; it is a reaction that will last a few days at the most. The odds are better that you will suffer minor pain in the area of the injection site.
Did you get the flu despite getting the flu shot? Please do not take that as an indication that the flu shot is ineffective. There are many flu viruses around us, and it is most likely a strain of the virus not remedied by the shot. The flu vaccine is not effective on all strains and, like all viruses, can mutate. A flu vaccine in any given year can be over sixty percent effective. I play the 649, and the odds of winning are one in fourteen million. Six out of ten are odds that are hard to beat; the benefits are staggering.
Pregnant women are especially advised to get a flu shot. My math has sucked since long multiplication went the way of the Dodo bird, but two for one seems a deal to me. The shot itself is safe at any juncture during the pregnancy, so no calling outsies.
About one in one million people can develop a severe side effect. Namely Guillain-Barre Syndrome. The benefits of getting a flu vaccine far outweigh the cons associated with it. A flu vaccine is worth the possible alternative. See your pharmacist today if you have not already. You will feel better about it.
Take care, wash your hands, keep physical distancing, and wear a mask, Love Art
From the desk of Arthur Lane.